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Majtényi proposed as opposition candidate for President

January 6th, 2017

A liberal pundit believes that Mr Majtényi, despite his credentials as a fierce critic of the government, would not be able to influence the course of events. Other commentators see contradictions on the side of the promoters of Mr Majtényi’s candidacy and in the attitude of the potential candidate himself.

While the Presidium of Fidesz decided to support János Áder’s nomination for a second term as President of Hungary (See BudaPost, January 3rd), a group of left-liberal intellectuals called on the left-wing opposition to nominate constitutional lawyer László Majtényi as their own candidate. The number of left-wing mandates is just one short of the required one fifth of MPs necessary for a nomination to pass. But even if they recruited one or several LMP deputies to support them, the only question would be whether Mr. Áder will be elected in the first round (with a two thirds majority, of which the number of Fidesz MPs is two mandates short) or in the second when only a simple majority is required.

On hvg.hu, László Seres thinks Mr. Majtényi should not accept the nomination, because in the unlikely event that he were to be elected, he could not be of any practical use for those who oppose the incumbent regime. President Áder, as a founding Fidesz member, perfectly fits that system, he writes, while Mr. Majtényi’s elbow room would be confined to futile attempts at referring laws to the Constitutional Court, as most judges have been appointed by the present parliamentary majority.

On his Facebook page, LMP founder András Schiffer criticises Mr Majtényi for inconsistency. He quotes the constitutional lawyer calling on the opposition in 2015 to boycott Parliament and saying that their presence there only served to legitimise the Fidesz regime. Now he is expected to run as a clearly doomed candidate against a crushing Fidesz majority in Parliament (131 MPs out of 199). “We are still waiting for a statement by the personality concerned declaring that such a candidacy would only legitimise an unacceptable system”, he writes in a sarcastic final remark.

On Polgárportál, founding editor Ervin Nagy questions the moral right of the initiators of Mr Majtényi’s nomination to define themselves as representatives of civil society. The right-wing political philosopher remarks that the initiative was taken by the Hungarian Welfare Movement (Magyar Szociális Mozgalom) whose leaders made it to Parliament as candidates of Együtt, a left-wing political party. In an aside, he refers to Hungarian-American investment tycoon George Soros (whose foundations support several liberal advocacy and watchdog institutions, including Mr Majtényi’s Károly Eötvös Instituteas Mr. Majtényi’s “employer”.


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